3 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Starting a Business

By Liesha Petrovich | Blog

You should be afraid. Starting a business is scary. You pour your heart and soul into a new business with the goal of becoming a success. Failure of the business is directly tied to your success as a professional – as a person. If you fail, it could be the end of your dearest dream in the entire world.

With that heavy truth out of the way, we can start to be real about starting a business. Yes, it’s super scary. It’s also the only way forward if your dream is to have your own business. Anyone who has ever started a business has been in the exact same position as you. But their fear and nervousness didn’t hold them back.

They found ways to live with their fears and build a business regardless of their anxieties. And so can you.

1. Accept that Mistakes Are Not Bad

We have a very bad habit of overlooking the fact that successful business owners have all failed at some point. It’s too easy to focus on their success and forget that they did not spontaneously spring into existence as a famous CEO.

Bill Gates, one of the most successful businessmen of all time, said the following:

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

Great business people understand that failure is to be expected. Not only that, they know they can learn from their mistakes. They see it as the perfect opportunity to learn what went wrong and how to ensure it won’t happen again. Make failure part of your expectations and don’t define your success by the number of mistakes you make.

2. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

We all feel like we’re pioneers in this business thing. We’re starting an adventure and we have a brilliant idea. We are the masters of our destiny!

Yet, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Learning from mentors will save us so much time and heartache. In The Definitive Guide on How to Start a T-Shirt Business, author Molly Corless explains:

“You’ve already got a plan. You don’t need this advice, we get that. But before you skip straight to selling, it’s worth 5-minutes to step through the points in this article because (believe me) we see a lot of people starting T-shirt businesses who don’t do the basics and then wonder why it isn’t working for them.”

Your idea may be unique, but your path to starting a business is not. Be open to learning from others and ask a lot of questions. It’s not so scary when you realize that you’re not the first person to be nervous about starting a business. And learning from others will help you avoid some (not all) of the basic business pitfalls new business owners make.

3. Always, Always Get a Second Opinion

This sign is why we always – always – get someone else to look at our work.

It’s laughable now, but it probably wasn’t when this business put up their shiny new sign. It’s just one of many in the 25 Logo Disasters That’ll Make You Laugh and one of a million examples of business mistakes. We don’t know the process of how each of these very obvious mistakes was made, but the end product is a lesson in why we all need someone trusted to help us make decisions.

You may think you have the best logo, website, product, and tagline. But why not reach out to someone you trust for a second look. Even the best writers need editors and all the most talented actors need directors. Find someone that will tell you the truth, even if it’s hard to hear, and ask for their opinion. You’ll feel better about your new business prospects and it may reduce some of the anxiety you have when you get a second opinion.

Use Your Fears, But Don’t Let Them Cripple Your New Business

I’ve often referred to stress as a business owner’s best friend. Stress highlights what’s not working for you and your new business. Let’s say your new product has received some negative reviews and that obviously stresses you out. It tells you the truth just like a best friend would. But why not use this as an opportunity for improvement instead of trying to “handle” your stress?

The idea is to find a balance between your emotions and your business. Starting a business is a very emotional time and it’s normal to be stressed and scared. Yet, none of that should stop you from moving your business forward. Learn to use your fears and anxiety to help you figure out what’s not working and make improvements. Never let it paralyze you.

Because if you’re a business owner, you’ll always have some level of fear, anxiety, and stress. And it’s up to you to figure out how to work around or with those emotions to build the kind of business you know you can.

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About the Author

Liesha Petrovich is a freelancer by day and Kyokushin Black Belt by night. She's the author of Killing Rapunzel: Learning How to Save Yourself Through Determination, Grit, and Self-Employment (her mother hates the title - but it's a metaphor mom!). She talks freelancing adventures at Microbusiness Essentials and everything else on Twitter.